The current COVID-19 situation has adversely affected the economic health of many businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (“SMEs”). This has led to cash flow being the biggest challenge as SMEs readjusts their operations during the MCO period to ensure that they could continue to meet their financial obligations, including retaining staff on their payroll. To ensure that SMEs receive the necessary financial relief in a timely manner, Hong Leong Bank (“HLB” or the “Bank”) enhanced and simplified the application and approval process for SME loans so that they can fast track the Bank Negara Malaysia (“BNM”) Special Relief Facility (“SRF”). As of April 30th, 2020, HLB had approved approximately RM1.3billion of facilities under the BNM SRF for over 1,600 SMEs spanning across sectors ranging from wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, construction to transport, storage and communication.
Terrence Teoh, Head of SME Banking at HLB said providing flexibility on the application process has made a significant difference in easing the burden and anxiety of customers. He said, “We made it simpler and seamless for the customers, where they are able to apply via email and complete the process through digital consent acceptance. This not only played closely to our digital at the core strategy, but just as importantly, allowed us to help clients at a critical time during the Movement Control Order (“MCO”), where physical restrictions inhibit the traditional way of doing things.”
Domenic Fuda, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HLB,said, “SMEs which makes up of 98.5%* of all business establishments in Malaysia have been hit badly during the MCO. As a bank with a strong entrepreneurship heritage, we understand that cash flow is their biggest challenge, and they presently face financial pressures to keep their businesses afloat and protect the livelihood of their owners and employees. We have been engaging with our customers throughout the MCO period to help where we can, including extending credit where appropriate and payment deferment where necessary to assist with their short-term cash flow management. We are also helping SMEs digitizing their banking so as they are able to operate under restricted movement and hence quickly bounce back as soon as the situation improves.”
HLB is also extending assistance to individuals and SME customers in the industry wide loan deferment program which was introduced on 1 April 2020 for a period of 6 months. Together, these initiatives have delivered timely support at a critical juncture during this pandemic to thousands of SMEs so that they can continue operating.
For more information on the SRF or general inquiries on the HLB Loans/Financing Deferment program, please send an email to [email protected] or visit www.hlb.com.my/en/personal-banking/news-updates/hlb-customer-financial-relief-plan.html or contact the HLB Customer Hotline at 03-7626 8899.